The Middle Ages

Anglo-Saxon origins

How did a royal palace at Westminster come about? Find out more about its earliest origins

Old and New Palace Yards

What were the main courtyards of the medieval Palace of Westminster?

The Palace and the Normans

The Normans inherited the Palace of Westminster from the Anglo-Saxons. What did they do with it? Learn about this critical phase of early Palace history

Henry III and the Palace

Read how King Henry III transformed the Palace of Westminster into a magnificent seat of government and royal authority

Henry III and the Painted Chamber

The Painted Chamber around 1799

The Palace of Westminster was transformed by the Plantagenet kings during the 13th century. Find out more about the royal apartments which they built for their exclusive use

Location of Parliaments in the 13th Century

Where were the first parliaments at Westminster held? Discover their earliest meeting places

Location of Parliaments in the later middle ages

Where were the Lords and Commons first housed? Find out more about their early homes at the Palace of Westminster

St Stephen's Chapel 1184-1363

Why was St Stephen's Chapel built? Explore the early history of this spectacular royal Chapel within the medieval Palace

The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft

The Chapel of St Mary Undercroft around 1863

The Undercroft Chapel is one of the few surviving parts of the ancient Palace of Westminster, and is still in use by Members today. Read more about its history

The Jewel Tower 1365

The Jewel Tower still stands today, and is one of the few remaining parts of the ancient Palace of Westminster. Why was it built? How did it survive the fire of 1834?

Also in this section

The key moments in the history of the Palace of Westminster, from its founding by the Anglo-Saxon kings to the Wars of the Roses

Also within Living Heritage

Westminster Hall is the oldest building in Parliament and the only part of the ancient Palace of Westminster which survives in almost its original form. Find out more about its long history

The present-day Palace of Westminster was constructed after the Great Fire of 1834. Find out more about its architecture and interiors